Rant & Rave: Powder Foundation

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Powder Foundation

It’s not the type of foundation I reach for, as I find the coverage level is harder to get where I want it and it often accentuates dryness, though some formulas are better than others.

— Christine


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Samira Avatar

I use powder foundation as a touchup/powder product during the day, particularly when I am out at night, because it can patch shifting/fading foundation. The best I’ve found is MUFE multi-use powder foundation, because it’s not too dry or powder-y. On very rare occasions I’ll pair it with heavy concealer if I need to redo my makeup for a night out (after work for example) and am unprepared. But I generally do not use it as actual foundation, despite my oily skin.

Anne Avatar

I use MUFE as touch up powder, too, but I have to be extremely careful with it because it’s very drying on my already dry skin. I use it on my T-zone only. It comes in so many shades, I was able to find a match (shockingly) — so I got it. (Alternatively, however, I find myself using Benefit’s Dr Feelgood a lot more, especially in the summer.)

Nichole Avatar

My holy grail is Meow Cosmetics powder foundation. Powder is the only foundation that I can wear that won’t break me out. My skin simply can’t handle any other type of formula. Meow Cosmetics has been very kind to my skin.

Deborah S. Avatar

In general I am not a fan of powder foundation when used as a foundation. I find it difficult to get an even application that doesn’t look dry and cakey. Undoubtedly, that is because I have ultra dry skin and even with good moisturizing before application the powder foundation feels like it is tugging on my skin. I do however use powder foundation to boost coverage in a small area such as over my hyperpigmentation. I will use a small fluffy eye shadow brush and dab a little powder foundation on top of the concealer that I use to cover my hyperpigmentation as a setting powder. It adds just a tad more coverage without looking too heavy or cakey. I also use a powder foundation when I am a little shiny on my nose and am away from home. I use the puff to press at the shiny area and it helps to absorb the shine. I use the KVD powder foundation and sometimes the IT cosmetics powder foundation. I like both for these purposes only.

Linda Avatar

I can never get powder foundation to cover my red cheeks without tons of layers, and even then, my pores look TERRIBLE! I’ve tried everything from Revlon to Dolce and Gabbana and a few in between.

The best one I’ve used is Jane Iredale – I’ll take that camping when I just want very minimal coverage. If I had better skin I’d prefer something so easy as powder foundation but not with my pores and redness!

When I was 18/19 I was devoted to MAC Studio Fix powder foundation. THAT covers everything, but looking back it was probably waaaaayyyy too heavy – especially how I applied it – thickly with the sponge it came with (what’s a brush??!!)

Wednesday Avatar

That’s the one I grab for the same reason.. You’re right, it doesn’t cover redness. I use it only when I have no patience for makeup, but want something on my face. I apply it over a thick layer of mineral sunscreen when I am going to be in my tractor for hours. I look good from a distance. LOL But my skin is protected.

Anna Avatar

I haven’t used it in a while but I did pick up some when UD had theirs on sale. I love it for those hot summer days/ nights when my skin is super oily. I would never use it in the winter/ cold months.

Susan Avatar

The older I get the less I can use powder foundation. Even with a good primer, it looks dry and dull, and highlights every bit of peach fuzz on my face. 🙁

Rachel R. Avatar

RAVE: I have oily skin, and for many years powder foundation was the only kind I could wear and have a prayer of it staying on (this was in the days before primers). I like that powders are easy and fast to apply, and that I can build up the coverage. It’s easier for me to find fair-skin friendly colors in powder foundation, and powders don’t oxidize on me the way liquids and creams do. I can skip primer with them if I’m in a hurry. They can double as a face setting powder for more coverage.

RANT: They’re never quite full coverage. If I’m having a really awful skin day, I have to go with a liquid. Loose powders can be messy to travel with, even if they have closing sifters. This also makes them inconvenient to carry with me for touch-ups.

kjh Avatar

Used it fairly often previously, iredale. Last time I got it, it was a bit too warm. Then I developed allergy to chem sunscreen, which left most liquids out. Now that I’ve found KGD, with zero sensitizers, use powder primarily as touch up. As my skin became less oily and more dehydrated, powder was less satisfactory. Thanks to readers, will look into the mufe. Really love the waterblend liq, but benzyl salicylate is a big no go. Mufe cooler shades are better than most other formulas, don’t run as yellow.

lindsay Avatar

Powder foundation is my jam!!!! I’m an oily girl so in the summer especially it is my go to. My long time fav is Merle Norman’s Ultra Powder foundation. I use the sponge it comes with to get full coverage!

Brittany Avatar

It seems my opinion isn’t the most popular one, as most people I see online say they prefer liquid, but I like using powder foundation all over my face. My face is completely oily, so even if it looks powdery when I first apply powder foundation, the oils come through and it looks really nice a few hours later.

The hard part for me is trying to find a powder foundation with at least a solid medium coverage that’s also not tested on animals. I liked wearing MAC Studio Fix powder as foundation, but have been trying to find a cruelty free formula dupe. I still really want to try Meow Cosmetics, but I prefer the convenience of pressed powder, usually.

Vanessa Barbara Avatar

Try the cover fx mineral pressed foundation. Great shade range reliable ingredients. By the way the creator of Mac studio fix is the same who created the cover fx mineral pressed powder

Judym Avatar

Mac fix plus powder is my holy grail for years. It is finely milled and densely packed, medium coverage without being heavy on my dry skin. IMO powders are more forgiving on dry patches. Many mineral loose powders have natural, air brushed finishes, which I love.

Kylie Avatar

Never worked for me. Maybe because I love to put on my liquid foundation with my fingers. I do not like using brushes. And I do not like how it feels on the skin.

Mariella Avatar

I’ve always liked powder and mineral powder foundations (pressed and loose). I like how quickly they apply and the reliable results they give (no worries of polkadot pores) but I don’t like that they don’t generally have a lot of coverage. I also find, with the pressed ones, you don’t get a lot of product for your money and also, they can develop a film from oil transfer via the brush I use (my IT Cosmetics powder foundations seem especially prone to this) and that film can make it hard to get at the actual product.

Joy Avatar

On most days I just use a little concealer where I need it topped with powder using a big fluffy brush. I used to use MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural but ran out one day and picked up a drug store brand that I found I like even better! I now use Physician’s Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30. It provides medium coverage and I like that I can refresh my sunscreen at any time without upsetting my makeup. I keep a retractable kabuki brush in my purse instead of using a powder puff, sponge or the tiny brush that it comes with. I think that’s the key to keeping it from getting cakey looking.

Anne Avatar

Joy –
I have this Physician’s Formula product (and I love it and often use it as a setting powder) but I never, ever thought to use it as a sunscreen touch up product. Thank you so very much. Your comment is a gem!!! A real pearl! And, I agree with your thought of using a retractable kabuki brush, which I also have! This is just perfect! Many, many thanks! Anne

Mary Avatar

I am currently using Youngblood`s powder foundation . I love the smoooth application and doesn’t feel dry . However I really prep my skin with hydration and Hourglass primer first.

Valerie Avatar

I only wear powder foundations. I often spot conceal first. I’m quite oily. I’ll try new liquid foundations every few months. Unfortunately , I have yet to find one that works for me.

Nichele Avatar

Not a fan of powder foundation – I find it makes my skin look matte, dry and aged. I do however use some Bare Minerals powder for spot concealing when needed, I find it helps keep my liquid products in place longer and provides that extra amount of coverage I need at times.

Paulette Avatar

I think I’m so is to liquid than the powder will not cover enough. Some one I know uses it, it’s Clinique., and looks beautiful on her skin .
Speaking about foundations I’m on the hunt for new one.
I have dry skin . I want something to stay on my face. Everything fades out. I like liquid and was currently using Clinique its foundation/ concealer combo. I have been trying to get to Sephora’s. but life gets in the way. ?Does anyone have recommendations?
Has anyone ever gotten skin / foundation matched @ Sephora?

SueG Avatar

I am old(!), and still rely on powder foundation for its ease and speed of application. I whisk my trusted kabuki around with Diorskin Forever Flawless or — gasp! — MAC Studiofix Powder Plus Foundation, and a minute later, I’m done. I don’t notice caking or emphasis of lines. Perhaps I don’t use that much? I find that the powder evens out my skintone without heaviness.

Eileen Avatar

I’m afraid I’ve never been a fan of powder foundations because they give the skin an artificial weird appearance that seems to emphasize every flaw, every enlarged pore, every bit of uneven texture. I prefer a liquid foundation with a fine veil of finishing powder.

Deborah Avatar

I have used powder foundation (MAC) for years and years. It has worked for me although I wish it had better coverage. BUT today I tried something kind of crazy. I purchased
Maybelline Age Rewind or something like that (Fair) – and I used it under my eyes. I was so impressed that I used it all over my face! I used a finishing powder and am very happy. Was this crazy? I ordered the wrong color in the Marc Jacobs re(marc)able foundation so I have to order the lightest one. Making some changes here!

Beverly Avatar

I’m pretty oily, live in Texas, and had traumatic childhood experiences with liquid foundation, so powder foundation is just what I use. ? I wear the MAC pressed one and my skin has never reacted badly to it. But then again aside from oil I don’t have any major skin concerns.

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